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20 Jan 2016
Why we need more of Silent Witness’s Clarissa to help disability portrayal
Hurrah for Clarissa Mullery. If you’re not familiar with Silent Witness, Clarissa Mullery, played by Liz Carr, is a fantastic forensic scientist. She is clever, witty, insightful and very good at her job – oh yes, and she happens to be a wheelchair-user. Thankfully, Clarissa is no stereotype – she is a well-rounded, believable character, and crucially her disability doesn’t drive the narrative. It’s refreshing and it’s important.
Many disabled people feel misunderstood and misrepresented by the media. For diversity to be authentic it is important that the workforce, and particularly the decision-makers, are also drawn from diverse backgrounds. The reality for disabled people is that having an impairment means by definition there are barriers – both physical and social – that prevent full engagement in society. The result is that they often struggle to be heard, or to tell their own stories. Disabled people become defined by others and their view of what they think life is like.20 Jan 2016
Work capability assessments: One million disability checks plannedA new company given the contract to assess disabled people for a sickness benefit has told the BBC it will do one million assessments this year.Maximus is being paid £595m over three years to carry out work capability assessments for people applying for employment and support allowance.The Department for Work and Pensions last year cut short an Atos contract after “significant quality failures”.Maximus is promising to clear a backlog of around 600,000 claims.It is also planning to reduce the time people wait for their results from at least 120 days to the recommended 90 days.President of health services, Leslie Wolfe, told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme: “Part of what Atos didn’t have was a [big] enough team to keep up with the wait times.“That’s one of our first priorities. We need to clear about one million [work capability assessment] claims this year.22 Sep 2015
Moscow metro opens its first ever public toilet
The single "bio toilet" has been installed on a platform at Prospekt Mira metro station, about 3km (1.8 miles) north of Red Square, and is free to use, the Tass news agency reports. Passengers access the new loo using their travel cards, and the cubicle has sensors to alert people if they leave any possessions behind. There's also an alarm which sounds if someone has been inside more than 15 minutes, the report says.
The city's huge metro system serves about seven million people per day across 196 stations, and travellers have long called for toilets to be installed. Above-ground public facilities in the Russian capital are few and far between, often dirty and usually charge a fee.